Tenants moving out feb 28 wrote me they expect to get the deposit back on Feb 28 at which time they will “deliver the keys”.
They are immigrants and the only good English speaker in the family moved away. And i dont speak Swahili.
They repeatedly ignored the terms of the lease which clearly state what they are required to do/provide in order to leave property in same condition as when they moved in. It was a fresh rehab & they were the first tenants. I never asked for late fees when their rent was late, it was never more than 4 days, my bank switched their rules for deposits.
It is a large family and the house is stuffed with belongings. No way can I tell what needs to be done.
I plan to write to them reminding them to read the lease. They will need to have someone translate it. They said they understood the terms when they signed it last year.
Appreciate your comments on this and what you would do.
I think i should wait until they pay feb. rent before I reply. Otherwise they might just leave me a disaster and use the sec. dep. for rent. Your opinion matters!
What does your lease say about returning the security deposit?
The signed lease should help eliminate some of these issues.
Just to clarify, In Texas you have 30 days from the day they vacate AND provide a forwarding address. The clock does not begin until both are satisfied
My lease states I have 30 days to return the deposit however it would be my goal to return earlier if possible however I am in no rush. To me this would be a red flag that there could be hidden damage they are hoping you won't notice on a quick walkthrough. I also do a walkthrough before they move to see if there is anything that needs repair to give them a chance but the final walkthrough is done alone. I also second the opinion of not responding until after they pay Feb rent due to tenants frequently wanting to live out their security deposit.
That deposit is only to be returned after they are all moved out and damages and /or or cleanliness is assessed . If it’s full of junk and filthy take pictures then tell them to pound salt and they can hire a lawyer to get it if they like
first, don't assume they are being hostile, tone is the last thing people master in new languages so what to you might read rude or at least brusque may not be to them. Also, assume until proven otherwise they are trying to do the right thing--giving you notice, letting you know they will give you the keys etc. Lease or no, its doubtful they remember the terms. And if they are new, they have no idea how things are supposed to work. The security deposit is a lot of money to them, so they will be scared as well.
Make an effort, write and email and use google translate. Let them know the standard procedure and that you are planning to follow it. Describe damage vs. normal wear and tear. Get their upcoming address. Do you have a move in checklist? If so make an appt with them or just zoom.
I think you are doing it correctly.
1. Wait until they pay February rent before you reply.
2. Give them a quote from the lease or (even better) the state law. Remind them the inspection takes place after they are completely out and have turned over the property, which includes returning the keys. You inspect. You turn it over and charge them for any cleaning/repairs. You issue the deposit.
You may want to write this down in simple bullet format, step-by-step, so they can perhaps comprehend it.
In the future, I would be very careful about renting to people that don't speak English. It's not discrimination to make them bring a translator and question them heavily to ensure they understand the contract.
If I had to guess, I'd assume they are worried about being taken advantage of since the reputation of landlords among the general populace is not always good. I would respond kindly and tell them what you plan to do and why. I.e. I cannot refund the deposit because I need time to inspect the property. I may take up to (legal maximum) and I promise I will do my best to get it to you as quickly as I reasonably can. I would do this in writing and assume they can translate.
Of course, if you have a history of treating them fairly and kindly they may realize they are bugging over an unfounded fear. I may approach the situation differently if I thought there was major damage they are trying to hide.